There are countless ways to show employees that you respect and care about them, but one particular way to support their well-being is to ensure that parenthood does not come into direct conflict with the expectations of work.
Companies that ignore the needs of working parents will increasingly find themselves losing out on key talent. That’s why the Best Place for Working Parents showcases employers in Texas who have prioritized family-friendly policies.
Here are 10 policies identified by The Best Place for Working Parents as significant contributors to the satisfaction and retention of workers with children. Though many of these policies are low-cost, each can contribute significantly to the lives of employees—and the company’s bottom line.
“People come here to work, but we want work to be a place where you can get rejuvenated— physically, mentally, emotionally. A lot of our employees have come in and said, ‘This is the greatest place I’ve ever worked, because I really feel like I can get the support I need.’ . . . We want every part of you to be well, body and mind. We want it all to work together.”
—Ollie Malone Jr., Vice President of Human Resources, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Recipient of the 2021 Best Place for Working Parents® Innovator Awards
Forward-thinking companies understand that their support for working parents on staff is a key driver of talent retention, positive company culture, and profitability. Here the top ten policies that companies can implement to capture these benefits.
#1: Company-Paid Healthcare Coverage
If your organization can manage to provide healthcare coverage that extends to dependents, you will offer significant stability to the households of employees with young children. Child Care Associates, based in Fort Worth, offers dental, medical, and vision coverage to its employees, although paid health insurance is uncommon in the childcare field. Employees who complete three wellness initiatives throughout the year can also receive lower premiums.
80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.
Source: (Glassdoor, FRACTL)
“In trying to live out our values, we realized that we needed to have more family-friendly policies, including healthcare options for whole families and paid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. Providing family-centered solutions goes hand-in-hand with our mission, but it also has proved to be a good HR decision.”
—Kara Waddell, CEO of Child Care Associates | 567 employees
Plummer, an environmental consulting firm with locations across Texas, goes beyond maternity and paternity leave, offering additional paid time off and bonuses to lessen the stress for new parents coming back to work. This includes an extra 80 hours of PTO for the primary caregiver, as well as a $3,000 parent retention bonus once the employee returns to doing 24 or more hours per week.
Unlimited vacation time eliminates vacation liability for companies an average of $1,898 per employee.
“At Plummer, being a great place to work is literally part of our vision statement, and family-friendly policies are a big part of realizing that vision. For us, this means anticipating that our employees who are mothers and fathers will likely need additional support when they welcome a new child. This thoughtful approach has not only been the right thing to do, but ultimately has helped us retain incredible talent and attract other employees who know that we provide a supportive, family-friendly culture.”
—Chris Young, CEO of Plummer | 160 employees
“A company that invests in mothers is pretty special and one that I am proud to work for.” —Allison W., Employee of Plummer
#3: Parental Leave
Betsy Price, former Mayor of Fort Worth, championed a new parental leave policy for city workers that took effect in October of 2020. Price notes that this was an important move for the city with the second-highest percentage of families with children in the nation. The policy offers six weeks of paid leave for maternity or paternity leave, applying to births and adoptions, and is not tied to tenure.
First-time mothers who use some form of paid leave are 32% less likely to quit their jobs before or after childbirth and are 19% more likely to return to the same employer after leave.
Source: Impaq International and Institute for Women’s Policy Research
“In order to have strong businesses, we need healthy employees and healthy families. It’s important that we modernize our HR policies to reflect the needs of working parents, because if they aren’t supported with benefits that recognize their commitment to work and their family – there will be other companies that will provide that critical support.”
—Betsy Price, Former Mayor of the City of Fort Worth
At the initiative of two senior employees, Rogue Architects, a nationally licensed architectural firm specializing in restaurant and retain projects, created a “Zen Room” in the company’s building, built in 1905. The intention was to create a private space where nursing mothers could pump during the workday. The Zen Room has become a beloved office fixture, doubling as a space where employees can make private calls to family during the day. The room cost no more than $400 to create.
Employers who support women who choose to breastfeed have more satisfied and loyal employees, which can also result in higher productivity.
Source: Science Direct
“Exhibiting care for each other is woven into the Rogue Architects culture, and the creation of the Zen Room space was a shining example of how giving your leadership staff the tools and flexibility to prioritize the wellbeing of others often results in better, more innovative, and more inclusive solutions. By supporting moms, we were able to support everyone in the firm.”
—Kevin Finestead, CEO/Owner of Rogue Architects | 567 employees
#5: “Best Place” Designation
Satori Capital, a Dallas-based investment firm based on the principles of “conscious capitalism,” has been recognized as a “Best Company to Work For” on the national and local level. Satori’s Optimal Living Program is certainly one initiative that has helped it earn these distinctions. It includes 25 days of PTO, plus a generous company holiday schedule (including the whole week between Christmas and New Year’s and Super Monday, the Monday after the Super Bowl. Employees are also offered healthy, chef-prepared lunches, gym membership reimbursement, backup child care, and many other benefits.
Compared to their competitors, great workplaces win when it comes to revenue growth, employee retention, productivity, innovation, resilience, agility, customer service, and employee engagement.
“We know that if our team members are happy and healthy, they perform better and enjoy their work and lives more. As such, we are dedicated to finding creative ways to help our employees live their best lives—whether it’s providing child care for them, offering flexible hours, or something as simple as delivering dry cleaning to the office—so they can use their free time to be with family, take care of themselves, and live the lives they deserve.”
—Randy Eisenman, Cofounder/Managing Partner of Satori Capital | 31 employees
“We know that potential employees are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing them; in fact, we recently hired someone who sought us out specifically because we had been named a ‘Best Place to Work.’” — Cami Miller, Employee at Satori Capital
#6: Child Care Assistance
The Miles Foundation, based in Fort Worth, endeavors to honor the legacy of its founder, Ellison Miles, through investments in education that promote the next generation’s success.
Employers that offer Dependent Care FSAs can save up to $382.50 per employee. For an employer with 100 employees participating in the full $5,000 FSA, that employer would save $38,200 per year.
Source: Cornell University
“Offering a Dependent Care FSA [flexible spending accounts] cost virtually nothing for us to set up, but is an added layer of support for our working moms and dads. If they opt in, it’s a great way for them to use tax-free dollars toward a variety of child care, summer camp, babysitting, and other necessary costs working parents are expending every year.”
—Grant Coates, President & CEO of The Miles Foundation
#7: Onsite Child Care
University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth is one of the nation’s premier graduate academic medical centers. In 2018, in partnership with the Miles Foundation and Lena Pope, UNTHSC created a quality early learning center on its central Fort Worth campus for staff and students to better serve the needs of working parents and students with young children. UNTHSC employees and students with children ages six weeks to five years old are able to enroll for year-round 6:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. care at the center on UNTHSC’s campus, guaranteeing up to 70 percent of slots for UNTHSC staff and student families.
When businesses provide childcare for employees, employee absences decrease by 30% and job turnover declines by as much as 60%.
“This collaboration was not only a major step for expanding access to high-quality, early childhood development in Fort Worth, but, providing quality child care right here on campus was a major step toward fulfilling our HSC Best Place for All Initiative designed to grow a sustainable people culture by creating programs, policies and a work environment that increase team member satisfaction and engagement.”
—Dr. Michael Williams, President of HSC
Bank of America is a company that ensures its employees have access to child care, even when the usual care systems are unavailable, as during school vacations, a child’s mild illness, an ill or unavailable caretaker, and more. The company provides each employee family an allowance of up to 40 days for child care (center-based or in-home) and 40 days of adult care (in-home) when their primary caregiver is temporarily unavailable. This program was expanded and streamlined during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure families had adequate care options through the significant disruptions that occurred.
An average business with 250 employees can save $75,000 per year in lost work time by subsidizing care for employees’ sick children. To make sure their children were taken care of, 67% of parents said they used a sick day, 56% were late to work, and 39% took a vacation day.
Source: Early Care & Learning Council
“At Bank of America, we support our employees’ wellness – physical, emotional and financial. We realize that managing personal and professional responsibilities can pose stressful challenges for many of our teammates. That’s why Bank of America offers a variety of benefits and resources, including expanding our back-up care to ensure that our teammates are taken care of so they can continue to best serve our clients.”
—Mike Pavell, Market President of Bank of America
#9: Flexible Hours
At Huckabee, a top educational design and architecture firm with six offices across Texas, employees are trusted to complete their 40 hours per week in a way that makes sense for their schedules—a policy that immensely helps parents on staff. In addition, offices close at noon on Fridays. This low-cost policy has contributed to the firm’s high levels of retention and employee satisfaction.
Of the 30% of credentialed women who leave the workforce, 70% say they would have stayed if they had access to flexibility.
“Huckabee has always strived to offer more to our employees, even when we were a small company, because we knew it was the right thing to do for our employees and their families. Only later did we realize the significant impact that offering more family-friendly benefits makes on our bottom line as an organization. It’s been a joy to support our team and to see firsthand the way these practices have benefited our incredibly loyal, hard-working employees.”
—Chris Huckabee, CEO of Huckabee | 260 employees
“Flexibility and focus on family. This is incredibly important to me and is one of the biggest reasons why I would promote Huckabee as a great place to work.” —Huckabee employee
#10: Remote Work
If you have a knowledge-work job, you’re probably (still) doing a lot more remote work than you were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For First3Years, an Addison-based nonprofit that supports the healthy development of infants, toddlers, and their families, enthusiastically offering remote work options has been a key to retaining talent, especially for those employees with family commitments. Like an increasing number of companies, First3Years allows employees to work remotely with the option to access shared office space and no minimum use requirements.
Companies that allow remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
Source: Owl Labs
“We know how important it is for parents to be present for their children and families. First3Years values and respects workplace flexibility which creates space for staff to show up in their role more engaged and ready to collaborate. Providing individuals with an autonomous work environment produces self-motivated and dedicated staff resulting in increased levels of team productivity.”
—Ashley Borthick, Interim CEO of First3Years | 16 employees
Each year, BPFWP designates businesses that have prioritized supporting their employees who are also parents. Here are all the Texas businesses that made the list in 2022.